Essex County Executive DiVincenzo Unveils Online Purchasing Portal

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Essex County Executive DiVincenzo Unveils Online Purchasing Portal

Stacey Maisch

Tuesday, August 24, 2010 • 11:57am

On Tuesday, January 6th, Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. unveiled the new Essex County Purchasing Portal, an interactive web site that enables vendors of all sizes to learn about procurement opportunities with Essex County.

The web site is the County Executive’s latest initiative to improve operating efficiency and enhance outreach to the business community. It officially became operable on Friday, January 2nd.

“We are committed to having a procurement process as open and competitive as possible, as well as making it easier for vendors who are interested in doing business with Essex County to apply for contracts. This uniquely designed web page is our latest tool to inform and link vendors with procurement opportunities with Essex County,” DiVincenzo said.

“Through this portal, vendors can register their company with Essex County and be automatically notified about various procurement opportunities that fit the business profile they submit. All information can be easily downloaded – at any time of the day, making it easier for vendors to conduct business when it’s convenient for them. All of this was designed to make doing business with Essex County easier and more efficient,” he added. “This is a great resource for Essex County and brings this us further into the age of technology,”

Freeholder Rufus I. Johnson said. “I commend the County Executive for engineering this. It will simplify our process and make it more accessible,” he added. The Executive also noted the potential savings for Essex County in photocopying and postage costs, and the amount of hours employees spend mailing and faxing documents, could reach into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“The Purchasing Portal is an extraordinary tool that will help our office run more efficiently and enable our employees to focus on their responsibilities as purchasing agents instead of copying and mailing documents. This brings us into the 21st century,” DiVincenzo said.

The easy-to-navigate web site can be accessed directly athttp://purchasing.essexcountynj.org or by clicking on the Purchasing Portal link found on the Essex County web site, www.essexcountynj.org.

The cyber portal includes listings of all contracts for competitively bid goods and services, requests for proposals and qualifications, and cooperative purchasing opportunities. A special feature of the Purchasing Portal is a cyber “site tour.” This option will engage “help balloons” that explain to vendors how to navigate the web site if they are having problems.

Vendors who want to do business with Essex County must register their business on-line and provide contact information and their New Jersey Business Registration Certificate. Vendors can then select the types of contracts they would like to be notified about from a list of 83 commodities. Contract specifications and necessary forms can be downloaded directly from the web site. (Selected bid specifications, such as those that include maps, may not be able to be downloaded from the site. In these cases, printed materials will be available from the Office of Purchasing.)

Vendors are still required to mail or hand-deliver their completed proposals to the Office of Purchasing in the Essex County Hall of Records. Procurement opportunities and the awarded contracts will remain on the purchasing web site for one year. This information can be easily accessed by vendors or members of the public.

Michael Frungillo and Michael Keszkowski of Last Exit Assoc, LLC of West Orange designed the Purchasing Portal. The project was funded with a 2007 PARIS (Public Archives and Records Infrastructure Support) Shared Services Grant awarded to Essex County by the New Jersey Division of Records and Archives Management.

To explain Essex County’s procurement process and raise awareness about the opportunities to do business with the County, the Essex County Office of Purchasing published a resource guide, “How to do Business with Essex County.” In addition, the Essex County Office of Small Business Development and Affirmative Action launched its on-line Vendor Registration System in June 2007 to enable small, women and minority-owned businesses to register their companies with Essex County and be alerted about procurement opportunities with Essex. The SBDAA also has hosted a variety of business development and networking expos for small, women and minority-owned businesses.